# How many days are between each of the main phases?

The main phases (new, first quarter, half, third quarter, and full) last between five and six days, however the amount of the Moon's visible surface that reflects sunlight fluctuates all the time. So sometimes more, and sometimes less, than five days will pass between re-emergences.

This is because when the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon, only part of the lunar surface is illuminated. So there will be a morning when just one half of the Moon is lit up, then another morning when it's all three-quarters, then back to one-half. This goes on forever or until something else interferes with the Earth-Moon relationship.

So how many days are there in a lunar month? It depends on which phase of the Moon you're in at any given moment. If the Moon is new or first quarter, it takes about 29.5 days to orbit around the Earth. If the Moon is full, it takes 30 days to orbit us. But if it's third quarter, it takes 30.5 days.

It's important to remember that the phases of the Moon never really end; they're just changes in how much of the Moon is exposed at any given time.

## How long does each of the four main phases of the moon last?

Because the moon is continually moving, each phase lasts barely a moment. The full moon appears to last three days to the human eye, although it is just a full moon for a moment before it begins to fade. The moon's phases take little under a month—an average of 29 1/2 days—to complete. The time between one full moon and the next is called a lunar month.

When you look at the moon, you are seeing Earth's shadow on its face. During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon is completely covered by this dark shadow. Because all direct sunlight is blocked from directly reaching the Moon, only light from the Sun as refracted through Earth's atmosphere reaches it. This has two important results: first, because all its direct light is obscured, the Moon will appear dimmer from Earth than otherwise; second, a certain part of Earth's surface—that facing towards the Moon—must at least partly be sunlit during an eclipse.

What causes a total lunar eclipse? A total lunar eclipse can only happen at full moon and around midnight. Because around midnight the path that the Moon is taking as it orbits Earth passes directly from the center of Earth's shadow to the far side, every part of the path will experience a total eclipse for over an hour. But at other times and from other places over half of the moon is in darkness during the eclipse.

Lunar eclipses are visible on half of Earth.

## How long does it take from quarter to noon?

It's been three weeks. From Full to Noon, plus one week from New to the first quarter, it takes two weeks. What evenings do you see a half moon? The moon looks half-illuminated during the "First Quarter" and "Third Quarter" phases.

The average length of time it takes for the moon to go from full to new is about 29.5 days. But that's only an average; it can take less than 28 days or more than 30 days. The moon's speed varies between 27 and 29 miles per hour, so it takes about a half hour for it to travel from one quarter to the next.

The moon is covered by oceans that stretch for hundreds of miles. These bodies of water contain all the water we are ever going to need for ourselves or anyone else. Even though they cover only 3% of the earth's surface, they hold 50% of its water. The other 47% is contained in ice caps and glaciers or arid regions.

These oceans were once hot enough for liquid water to exist on Mars and Earth. Scientists think that many millions of years ago, when our planet was still being formed, it went through a series of large scale volcanoes and eruptions that threw much of this water into space. Later on, when most of the heat had gone out of the planet, these waters re-formed back into ice sheets.

##### Kerri Ivory

Kerri Ivory has been practicing yoga and mindfulness for over 20 years. She completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training with Kripalu in 2001. Kerri is a certified Level 1 Kundalini Yoga Instructor through Elson’s International School of Yogic Science and she teaches workshops locally, nationally, and internationally on the topics of spirituality, astrology, and mindfulness.